Two cup wins in three games for first team
By Chris Burnett
Woodley into next round with first away win of season
A superb performance on Tuesday evening saw Woodley progress in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup.
Facing a Thatcham Town Development side featuring several first team players United defended well from the start with Tom Bryant in the Woodley goal having a fine game.
The first chance of the match was created by United debutant Leon Mannion. Gaining the ball twenty five yards out the ball broke to Chace Jewell who had his shot saved by Liam Harris.
Five minutes in Bryant pulled off the first of many saves. James Tennant, who played a few games for Woodley last season had a shot deflect up off a defender requiring Bryant to tip over. The resultant corner found Shane Cooper-Clark whose well struck drive was saved in the bottom left corner.
United went ahead on ten minutes when a fantastic ball from Mannion found Jewell who had just Harris to beat. The Woodley man went for a lob which was kept out; failing to get out of their box the hosts were punished when Pablo Fernandez got his first for the club from close range.
Looking for an immediate response Thatcham defender Mark Hughes headed a deep free kick into the side netting before a Cooper-Clark shot from the right side of the box was saved.
Midway through the half saw United have a couple of quick fire chances. The first fell to Sam Guze who made his return to the side at the weekend after a spell out injured; his effort from twenty yards missed to the right. Fernandez then had a shot kept out by Harris after a flowing move.
The final fifteen minutes of an entertaining half saw the home side apply some sustained pressure. Tennant had a shot dealt with after a 1-2 on the edge of the box whilst some brave keeping by Bryant denied Will Frank after a nice run from the Thatcham player.
Bryant’s best save of the evening saw him keep out a point blank header from Hughes before a couple of fantastic blocks from the impressive Luke Axton-Hall who was playing in the middle of a Woodley back three.
United had the half’s final chance and it fell to the lively Fernandez. Receiving a throw in from the right a neat turn freed up enough space to fire off a shot that was saved.
HT Thatcham Town Development 0-1 Woodley United
The second half started with another Bryant save. This time he kept out a header from a left wing cross.
At the other end Jewell couldn’t test Harris.
Ten minutes after the restart saw the home side finally beat Bryant, however Tennant’s shot from the left rebounded off the angle of bar and post.
Woodley then had a really good spell resulting in several decent opportunities. Mannion headed wide a Jewell cross before the same player was denied by a good save by Harris diving to his right.
This was followed up by another fine move by the away side. Joe Sissons clearance was beautifully bought down by Fernandez who picked out Jewell on the right. Cutting inside his cross found Mannion who missed to the right.
Mannion was at the heart of every United attack. Showing good pace to get on the end of a Fernandez pass he missed the target from the left in what was a difficult chance.
In between those chances Woodley made a change with Toby Briggs replacing Jewell.
After a ten minute spell when the game was played predominantly in the midfield Thatcham equalised from the penalty spot after substitute Musa Drammeh was tripped. Will Frank stepped up from twelve yards and made no mistake with a shot to the right,
United made further changes on eighty two and eighty five minutes. Harry Hawkins replaced Guze whilst three minutes later Fernandez made way for Ryan Alexander.
With extra time looming Alexander got the winner with two minutes to go turning in a low Mannion cross from the right.
The final chance of the game fell to Briggs. With the ball by the corner flag, a drop of the shoulder saw him break away from several players before getting off a well hit shot that forced Harris into a smart stop.
A great performance under the captaincy of Teddy Thomas, two players getting their first goals for the club, a resilient defensive showing with Luke Axton-Hall on top form and some excellent saves from Tom Bryant.
Onto Chalvey on Saturday where we look to get our first points on the board.
FT Thatcham Town Development 1-2 Woodley United